Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi!

    So I am working on playing "walking-melody" (instead of chord-melody ), mostly on how to improvise melodies while playing walking.
    Anyone else into this and have some ideas on what I can practice?


    Pardon the crappy quality and mistakes, it's from a practice session.
    I started to get cramp in the end...

    Cheers

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    I just have to say that you´ve come a long way , with your approach.
    Great job
    Uffe Steen Music: http://www.uffe-steen.dk

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Thats really outstanding. I love it. I've tried to do this many times and never could produce a convincing approach. Chords and comping with walking bass I can do, but this kind of soloing is still beyond my reach. You've inspired me to keep trying.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Wow! I love that sound / feel.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    First off, congratulations on what you've accomplished so far with this challenging endeavor.

    Speaking as a listener, not an active practitioner but also as someone who formerly
    played many elec. bass gigs and presently I often cover bass function in groups on cello.

    There is an excellent sense of phrasing in your melody playing but less so with your bass lines.
    Ideally, both parts should project equal musical character. Easy to say, harder to execute.
    The bass notes are all straight quarters played with a short articulation.
    Mix it up with more sustained notes, accents and rhythmic variety to lend greater shape.
    Although the general idea is bass + melody, consider letting one part take over in spots.

    I'm inspired by your example to play around more with this approach. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

    That's great tips Bako! Thanks!
    I have indeed spent to little time working on the stylish parts of the bass line and been to occupied with the fingerings.
    I will try giving the basslines more attention and record the difference!

    The bass is an interesting voice in sologuitar, so I should let it be melodic and let the audience know it is there.
    Inspiring post, thank you Bako!

  8. #7
    Whatever you practice it seems to be working! I would follow Joe Pass's words and practice/transcribe a lot of straight ahead bass lines, till they become effortless and really groove. Listen to a lot of Charlie Hunter and Tuck Andress, who are think is really a master at this, plus he does percussion on top of it as well!

    You do lose the index finger by playing the bass with a pick, i guess you have experimented with using the thumb for it? I've always found playing the bass with the thumb easier to do, for feel and sound (I could also never do the pick and fingers thing, it feels unnatural to me).

    Well played! I've been through periods of spending much time with that kind of playing, and for me it really boils down to that, spending time getting the flow happening, focusing on the bass and the groove, and then melodies just start to happen on top.. Best of luck!

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Thanks Alter!
    Yeah, Charlie Hunter is a great inspiration. There is a epic clip where he plays a blues with walking and improvises freely ontop of that.
    I'll link to it below.
    I need to check some good bass lessons, to get a feel for the feel.

    Yes, I like to play with the thumb, definitly sounds warmer and better. And it's produces less tension, so it hurts my hand less.
    But, I've been playing for so long with a pick, and cannot compromise the techniques I've aquried.
    I use it alot during the parts where I do not play walking. So sadly it's not an option to loose the pick...
    I had to work hard to get some speed in the 8th note lines using middle/ring-finger, that was hard.



    Cheers!

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    It's great job you did! And sounds easy and relaxed.

    I tried the same thing... I found that was quite possible (in that sense solid classical experience is really helpful).

    But I found also that in melodic improvization I was always 'tied' to the bass line left-hand fingerings... I understand it can be overcome to some degree with special focus on it and I tried it ... but finally I came to the point that even with relatively simple changes and cases where I do not have to think of bass I still do not quite play melody what I would like to play musically - there is always some reference (and limitation) to hand position and technique... so I quit it more or less. But probably some can bring it to the highest level of freedom.. I think it is much about mentality, way of thinking too... some people just can co-(or disco-) ordinate things with more ease than others.
    Last edited by Jonah; 08-27-2019 at 07:00 AM.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Thanks!

    Yes, this is the issue I want to discuss.
    I am working alot on playing scales with different fingers anchored to bass notes, hoping that this will improve my melodic freedom.
    But it's rather slow progress.

    I did this sometime ago, it did help out to some degree:


    It is 100% arranged of course. But it made me develope some interesting fingerings.
    Giant Steps has a very different chord progression, which actually makes walking fairly easy, allthough jumpy.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by bracer View Post
    Thanks!

    Yes, this is the issue I want to discuss.
    I am working alot on playing scales with different fingers anchored to bass notes, hoping that this will improve my melodic freedom.
    But it's rather slow progress.

    I did this sometime ago, it did help out to some degree:


    It is 100% arranged of course. But it made me develope some interesting fingerings.
    Giant Steps has a very different chord progression, which actually makes walking fairly easy, allthough jumpy.
    To be honest I was too lazy to develope it deeper .. or from my personal view it was not worth the efforts - for me personally of course! - (I am not that big fan of "walking bass+melody" or 'Joe Pass semi-classical" approach. I like more sporadic abrupt style or solo jazz guitar playing like Bernstein, Friesell or Scofield or Stowell do.. but that's my thing of course)

    so.. when I used to practice that ( I still do occasionally) I said to myself taht I need to make preference what is more important for me: elaborated controlled melodicized bass line or absolutely independent and free melodic voice? I chose the second...

    Maybe this approach is the other way around than what would be expected (to bring bass line to automatic perfection and then add melodic lines in the surrounding fretboard area)... but as I did not want to spend too much time it was probably a shortcut...

    So everything was for the sake of the melodic line only - and I think that this was iportant ideology for me -- I play melody and look for bass notes around...


    but to be honest I did not develope it .... I gradually just slided back to occasional bass+chord over or between lines...

    One technicak thing I tried to apply was using just one finger for all bass note as deliberate restrction, if one is good about 'position playing' (I mean shifting the wrist without beneding it like in classical) one should be ok with 'blind playing' this way.. this allows to focus more on melody...
    And of course melodic bass patters over changes must be practiced... it is just imporssible to do it without this.
    This bass line practice wass probably the greatest benefit of it for me)).

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by bracer View Post
    Hi!

    So I am working on playing "walking-melody" (instead of chord-melody ), mostly on how to improvise melodies while playing walking.
    Anyone else into this and have some ideas on what I can practice?


    Pardon the crappy quality and mistakes, it's from a practice session.
    I started to get cramp in the end...
    very nice job, this is surely hard to do. since you asked about what to practice, I'd say: practice with drums (like drum genius or something) and listen to where you are placing the bassline in relation to the beat. My sense is that you are very "on top" of the beat, and I would also practicing putting the bassline in the dead center of the beat. Paul Chambers plays very "on top" of the beat, as does Ray Brown. Someone like Percy Heath plays in the dead center of the beat. Overall, it sounds like you are playing very "on top" of the beat, which can give a nice forward motion, but it can also sound like you're rushing a bit, even if you aren't actually rushing.

    I think the chordal stuff and harmonic stuff you play on top of the basslines sound amazing, quarter note melodies sound good, I would practice more getting a smooth eighth note feel, you eighth notes are a little too much like dotted triplets sometimes.

    Hope this helps and doesn't come across as too critical, you sound good! but, you asked about what to practice, and so I figured you were wanting some constructive criticism.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Very impressive, I haven’t really tried to do this as I find the bass notes limit the melody note choices too much. But it looks like something worth exploring.

    Andy Brown takes a slightly easier approach, playing bass notes only on beats 1 and 3. I have tried this a bit and it works better for me.

    You can get a taster of Andy’s approach here (I have purchased these lessons, they are very helpful):


  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    very nice job, this is surely hard to do. since you asked about what to practice, I'd say: practice with drums (like drum genius or something) and listen to where you are placing the bassline in relation to the beat. My sense is that you are very "on top" of the beat, and I would also practicing putting the bassline in the dead center of the beat. Paul Chambers plays very "on top" of the beat, as does Ray Brown. Someone like Percy Heath plays in the dead center of the beat. Overall, it sounds like you are playing very "on top" of the beat, which can give a nice forward motion, but it can also sound like you're rushing a bit, even if you aren't actually rushing.

    I think the chordal stuff and harmonic stuff you play on top of the basslines sound amazing, quarter note melodies sound good, I would practice more getting a smooth eighth note feel, you eighth notes are a little too much like dotted triplets sometimes.

    Hope this helps and doesn't come across as too critical, you sound good! but, you asked about what to practice, and so I figured you were wanting some constructive criticism.
    This is great feedback! Thank you!
    I definitly need to practice the seperate parts individually and make them sound good by themself first.
    I do indeed struggle with playing swinging eigth notes using the middle/ringfinger combo, and I've been too lazy to focus on it.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Very impressive, I haven’t really tried to do this as I find the bass notes limit the melody note choices too much. But it looks like something worth exploring.

    Andy Brown takes a slightly easier approach, playing bass notes only on beats 1 and 3. I have tried this a bit and it works better for me.

    You can get a taster of Andy’s approach here (I have purchased these lessons, they are very helpful):

    Wow. Wonderful Totally agree with his comments about guitarists over-using rubato
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Very impressive, I haven’t really tried to do this as I find the bass notes limit the melody note choices too much. But it looks like something worth exploring.

    Andy Brown takes a slightly easier approach, playing bass notes only on beats 1 and 3. I have tried this a bit and it works better for me.

    You can get a taster of Andy’s approach here (I have purchased these lessons, they are very helpful):
    That looks like a nice course! Thanks!

    Yes, I did practice bass on 1&3 alot before stepping it up to walking bass.
    The biggest challenge I noticed when switching to walking bass is the loss of freedom in movement.
    What I mean is that when playing bass on 1&3, you have the time to adapt the bass notes to the melody. You can in the middle of the phrase decide wether the bass should move up or down.
    When playing walking, then you have less time to decide and it has to happen at the same time as your melody develops. Many times the direction of the bass line is decided already the previous bar.

    One thing I noticed as important is to be able to switch positions in the middle of a phrase.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Here I play mostly on 1 & 3, definitly more interesting phrasing and much more melodic freedom.
    I do a short walking part aswell.
    This song has alot of two chords per bar, which I find easier to do walking on. It's less linear...

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by bracer View Post
    Anyone else into this and have some ideas on what I can practice?
    Sounds great. I want to work on my bass lines, as I can’t manage what you’re doing here. You might be interested in this Martin Taylor lesson, especially where he shows how to add some variety by breaking up the bass line, syncopating, etc.

    Jens Larsen also has a nice video on the subject. He’s a member of this forum.

    Also Tim Lerch:

    But all three videos are more about walking bass and comping than bass and melody. I think to do all three (walking bass, comping and melody) might require subordination of the bass & comping to the melody, breaking them up as suggested in the videos while keeping the melody line fluid.
    Last edited by KirkP; 08-28-2019 at 07:59 AM.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Thanks Kirk!
    These are indeed good lessons. Martin Taylor swings insanely!
    I had the pleasure to attend one of his guitar retreats and got to discuss the topic in private with him.

    Anyway, my intended plan is now to practice two things:
    -to work on strictly keeping the walking bass quarter notes and focus on the freedom of the melody playing.
    -working on the sound of the bass line, for example the rythmical placement on the beat, no melody, strictly bass.

    I will post the progress later!

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Sounds great. I want to work on my bass lines, as I can’t manage what you’re doing here. You might be interested in this Martin Taylor lesson, especially where he shows how to add some variety by breaking up the bass line, syncopating, etc.

    Also Tim Lerch:

    But all three videos are more about walking bass and comping than bass and melody. I think to do all three (walking bass, comping and melody) might require subordination of the bass & comping to the melody, breaking them up as suggested in the videos while keeping the melody line fluid.
    That Tim Lerch lesson is especially good, and "Sweet Lorraine" is a great tune to have under one's belt. Tim has a few more walking bass lessons at his site. Great player, great guy.

    There are a couple books that might be of use: Jack Grassel's "Big Ax " and "Super Ax". The first book is about walking bass and chords; the second one is about walking bass and improvising melodic lines. They may be out of print but used copies can be found....
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola